Friday, January 15, 2010

Sitebuilder ProGolf Unveiled

The 2010 version of Sitebuilder ProGolf has now been launched across the UK and Ireland by The Edge Studios in Ayrshire.

Sitebuilder ProGolf allows for the creation of a fully updateable website using the multiple functions of our easy to use online content management system and creates your website based on individual designs. The management system allows the creation of your own multiple pages for events, features, news or promotions and these are easily dropped into your website structure. The ability to add feature pages has never been easier and requires only a basic knowledge.

Sitebuilder ProGolf is driven by The Claymore Project, an easy to use content management system to keep your website up to date and additionally manage your Image Gallery, your YouTube account and access your Site statistics, Adwords campaign, FlickR or TripAdviser accounts. It can even show local attractions on your Google map and will manage your own website descriptions for the Search Engines.


While doing work on the website design package and had another look at Lawrence Young's Dragon's Tooth Golf Course site again. He's got a nine hole course next to the Balluchulish Hotel near Fort William yet the site content, imagery and tone shows up many larger operations.

His understanding of the need to showcase his product made developing the site a pleasure and by choosing to use Sitebuilder ProGolf ha can manage his content, imagery, video footage and social media.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Understanding Retrun on Investment

Understanding ROI? Hmmmmm...

Why bother? Well most don’t but if you start getting into the habit of looking at your marketing spend and analysing just what it generates you may very quickly realise that you’re facing the wrong way. It can be a serious wakeup call and when applied to the potential returns from online marketing be a “Road to Damascus” moment.We ran an articale at the beginnng of the year about ROI being King and the result was a few emails requesting more information on how best to interparate Return on Investment. So we have tried below to give an insight from our perspective.

The oft raised issue with online marketing is understanding just what you’re paying for when it comes to your website and associated spends. Using a basic ROI calculation may help you understand just a little bit better why diverting your spends towards your online marketing is well worth considering.

Very basically Return On Investment is calculated by working out the returns on your activities against the resources put into achieving those results.

In formula terms ROI % = ((Returns – Investment)/ Investment) x 100

Calculating Returns

Returns on investment should not be based on simple sales but the contribution or Gross Profit figure. Room sales should, for example, include the additional Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) including servicing, commission paid on the sales and other directly related costs.

While many marketers will happily calculate the ROI based on sales only it is not a truthful figure for your business and you should always use the Gross Profit figure. An online marketing campaign aimed at increasing room sales must be calculated on gross profit of those sales not the total sales. Similarly so should any F&B promotion or campaign.

Therefore the figure can more accurately be represented as

Return on Investment = (Gross Profit – Investment)/Investment
Simply divide it by 100 to calculate your percentage

Calculating Investment

For an online marketing campaign for example, the following annual costs should be included in the investment side of the calculation.
  • Website design costs
  • Pay Per Click Costs
  • Emarketing costs
  • Project Management Time
We would suggest that direct cost of the sales is calculated in the returns side of the equation. For instance for a restaurant promotion

Website Design Costs

Obviously include the development costs but ensure to spread the costs over the lifetime of the site. Don’t plan to hold on to your website for more than two years – so spread the costs over the projected lifespan. Include all related costs for maintenance, hosting, email services.

Pay Per Click

Online advertsing costs are easily managed. Set a planned budget for the year but track results. Is it converting to bottom line?

Look at your offline advertising budget and consider matching it (not always appropriate but good starting point – remember ROI!)

Emarketing Costs
  • Licence or fees - £20 - £50 per month?
  • Build in time to write newsletters – 2 hours each?
  • Analysis – 1 hour a month?
Project Management Time

Be realistic and include the time you or a member of your team need to devote to making the project work. In online marketing time is the most precious resource and without allocating it your online projects will fall short
  • Management of direct online availability – Five hours a week?
  • Management of website copy – two hours a week?
  • Management of Blog articles – five hours a week?
  • Facebook and other social Media – five hours a week?
  • Management of Review sites (such as TripAdvisor)and website references – two hours a week?
Only you can look at the time you have for your online marketing costs but whatever you do make sure you use an estimate and don’t discard. To achieve results online someone’s time is required. The website, the social media, the booking engine, the search engines are the vehicles available for your business but you have to take the responsibility of getting behind the wheel and driving the vehicle.

An online marketing campaign without a driver should not be expected to reach your destination on time or on target

Calculation of Return on Investment – Web Campaign
Returns

Estimated Additional Sales
25000
Gross Profit %
85%
Return (Gross Profit) on Additional Sales
21250


Investment

Project Costs
2500
Costs of Time
2500
Total Investment
5000


ROI
3.25
ROI %
325.0%

Friday, January 8, 2010

Royal Golf Hotel is Back with an Online Edge!


The Royal Golf Hotel in Dornoch is reopening and The Edge are delighted to have been appointed to develop the hotel's online presence ahead of its April opening.
In advance of Christmas we were asked to make sure there was at least a temporary presence online and Steven in our design team has pulled together the holding site which incorporates a Google map, external links and the Bookassist online reservations system.
The Royal Golf Hotel Facebook page has also been launched and will form an important part of the hotel's social media campaign over the coming weeks.
It's really great news for the Royal Burgh of Dornoch that the Royal Golf Hotel is reopening and we look forward to working with Grant Sword and his team to maximise the returns from the website.

ROI is King!

Excuse the schoolboy French pun but as we move into 2010, Return on Investment really is King.

Every penny spent must lever the maximum return possible in all areas of the business. No more so than with online marketing.

So what should you plan to do in 2010?

Well this year is being labelled by many online marketing gurus as “The Year of The Independent”. So what does that mean?

Well in our eyes it means that the technology has come of age and now allows the independent operator access at an affordable cost to the same tools previously only available to the larger operators or to the Online Travel Agents (OTAs)

Accommodation providers need to focus on developing online marketing initiatives that bring the highest rates of return in terms of higher rates, lower commissions and the most bookings.

So what should you’re online focus be for the next twelve months? Well it should be the things that have got the best means of providing the Return on Investment.

Concentrate on the basics as they consistently bring in the most bookings and the highest returns. Some industry analysts estimate that more than 75% of hotel website bookings originate directly from these four basic areas alone.
  • Website Redesign
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Paid Search
  • Email Marketing
Website Redesign
If you haven’t done your website in the past eighteen to twenty four months then it is most likely that it requires some sort of surgery. New technology will have passed it by, the design may be dated. A new website with positive images, rich content and integration of social media is now a basic of any hotel website.

It almost goes without saying that a fully integrated online reservations system such as Bookassist is essential.

More about Website Design with The Edge

Search Engine Optimisation
No point having the best website in the world if no-one can find it. Don’t expect loads of business just because your hotel name comes up first. The vast majority of your potential bookers are not looking for you by name. We’ve developed our own 3-6-9 SEO Audi which will help you analyse your website not only month on month but against your key competition. Management of SEO terms and your website content is an ongoing process that once again can provide stunning increases in traffic leading to greater opportunity to convert.

It is essential and whilst the investment may be unseen, the results are not.


Paid Search
If used without caution it can be expensive but managed properly pay per click can provide excellent rates of return on the money spent. It really is worthwhile to allocate a decent budget to paid search for 2010 and monitor click throughs and bookings generated. It can be easily managed and monitored and should not be overlooked.

Email Marketing
Direct contact with your previous customers is maybe an accepted principle but it like the other basics above requires creativity and strategic planning. It’s no longer just about sending out brochures. It may involve post departure email questionnaires, deep linking to exclusive offers and certainly strong management of the design and content of newsletters. Mailing to customers who know you is very rarely viewed as junk or annoying, it may not be relevant at that particular time but one of those occasions it will push the button.

If you can focus the majority of your 2010 online marketing budget and efforts on these four areas and monitor your results so that you can allocate more of your budget to those specific elements in each initiative that works.

It doesn’t mean you systematically ignore Social Media and other offline tools but get the basics right when money is tight and can see dramatic increases in Return on Investment.

For more information on improving your ROI give us a call on 01292 521404 or send us an email